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International Merchandise Trade, Preliminary, Australia

Contains preliminary monthly aggregate estimates of international merchandise trade

Reference period
June 2020
Released
24/07/2020

Key statistics

  • Exports of goods in June 2020 increased from the revised May 2020 estimate of $29,235m by $2,354m (8%) to $31,589m.
  • Imports of goods in June 2020 increased from the revised May 2020 estimate of $21,924m by $1,289m (6%) to $23,213m.

Main features

This release provides preliminary estimates for Australian international merchandise trade for the month of June 2020 to help measure the economic impact of coronavirus (COVID-19). These estimates are compiled from administrative data (customs records) sourced from the Department of Home Affairs and are subject to revision. The final June monthly estimates will be published in International Trade in Goods and Services, Australia (cat. no. 5368.0) on 4 August 2020.

Preliminary June key points and figures

Preliminary trade in goods (original, current prices)

  • The value of exports and imports of goods both increased in June 2020, from the revised May 2020 figures.
  • The preliminary figures show that the value of exports increased $2.4b (8%) to $31,589m from the revised May 2020 value of $29,235m. Year-on-year, the June 2020 figure declined $3.5b or 10% from June 2019.
  • The value of goods imported increased by $1,289m (6%) to $23,213m on the revised May 2020 value of $21,924m. Year-on-year, the June 2020 figure declined $443m (-2%) from June 2019. This decline was largely due to drops in imports of road vehicles and petroleum.
  • China has been the dominant trading partner with Australia accounting for 39% of Australian exports, and 27% of Australian imports in the year ending June 2020.
     

Preliminary international trade in goods summary (a)

   Apr 2019May 2019Jun 2019 Apr 2020May 2020Jun 2020 May to Jun 2020
   $m$m$m $m$m$m $m%
Original current prices
EXPORTS          
 Total goods
31 142
34 039
35 092
 
31 092
29 235
31 589
 
2 354
8
  Rural goods
4 043
4 210
3 883
 
3 997
3 700
3 726
 
26
1
  Non-rural goods (b)
25 433
28 142
29 558
 
25 200
24 122
25 500
 
1 378
6
  Non-monetary gold (c)
1 665
1 688
1 651
 
1 895
1 413
2 363
 
950
67
IMPORTS          
 Total goods
24 882
26 714
23 656
 
23 950
21 924
23 213
 
1 289
6
  Capital goods (d)
6 372
7 104
6 059
 
6 043
5 536
5 755
 
219
4
  Consumption goods
7 680
8 163
7 121
 
7 848
6 414
7 226
 
812
13
  Intermediate & other goods
10 421
10 969
9 865
 
9 429
8 716
9 427
 
711
8
  Non-monetary gold
 410
 478
 610
 
 630
1 257
 806
 
- 451
- 36
- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)
a. Caution should be used when interpreting preliminary estimates as they may be different to the final published estimates, and are subject to revision.
b. For all time periods, confidentialised export items are included in Non-rural goods, whether or not this reflects their true nature.
c. Includes Gold coin.
d. For all time periods, confidentialised import items are included in Capital goods, whether or not this reflects their true nature.
 

Preliminary exports (original, current price)

  • Exports of goods in June 2020 increased from the revised May 2020 estimate of $29,235 by $2,354m (8%) to $31,589m.
  • The 8% increase in the value of exports in June 2020 was preceded by falls in April and May.
  • The increase in June 2020 was driven by exports of: non-rural goods, up $1,378m (6%); non-monetary gold (including gold coin), up $950m (67%); and rural goods up $26m (1%).
  • Within non-rural goods, the increase in exports of metalliferous ores, up $1.2b (11%) was the main driver; with petroleum also up $208m (47%); and pharmaceutical products up $120m (24%).
  • Metalliferous ores, up 11% on May reached a record high export value of $12.5b, which lead to metalliferous ores exports surpassing $130b for the 2019-20 financial year, iron ore (lumps and fines) contributed more than $100b to this value.
  • Other notable movements within non-rural goods were strong increases in: beverages up $93m (36%); other transport equipment up $56m (36%); and road vehicles up $39m (40%).
  • The increase in exports of non-monetary gold was driven by an increase in exports to the United Kingdom, Switzerland and Japan, offset by a decline in exports to the United States of America (USA). The decline in non-monetary gold exports to the USA, was preceded by three consecutive months of relatively high value trade.
  • Year-on-year, exports declined $3,503m (-10%) when compared to June 2019.
     
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Preliminary exports by country (original, current price)

  • By country, Australia’s exports of goods are dominated by China. In June 2020 exports to China increased $1,010m (7%) to $14,555m. This increase was predominantly driven by increases in exports of metalliferous ores, up $1,031m (12%) to a record high of $9,388m; and petroleum, up $73m (154%). Declines in coal, down $142m (-8%) and cereals, down $80m (-43%) were the most significant falls.
  • After China, Australia’s top export destinations are Japan, South Korea, the United States of America (USA) and the United Kingdom (UK). Collectively these countries (including China) made up approximately 68% of all exports in the year ending June 2020.
  • In the year ending June 2020, non-rural goods, including major resource commodities, accounted for the majority of Australia’s exports to Japan and South Korea. Australia also exported a substantial amount of rural goods including meat (beef) and cereals (wheat) to these countries.
  • In the year ending June 2020, the largest value commodities exported to the USA were meat and meat preparations, non-monetary gold (excluding gold coin) and pharmaceutical products. Non-monetary gold saw substantial increases in the month of March, and surpassed $1b in exports for both April and May 2020 then declined to $31m for the June 2020 month.
  • Exports to the UK are typically dominated by non-monetary gold. In the year ending June 2020, non-monetary gold accounted for 81% of Australia’s exports to the UK. On a month-to-month basis, exports of non-monetary gold are volatile with, for example, $1.8b of non-monetary gold exported to the UK in the June 2020 month following nil exports in the month of May and $78m in the month of April.
     
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Preliminary imports (original, current price)

  • Imports of goods in June 2020 increased from the revised May 2020 estimate of $21,924m by $1,289m (6%) to $23,213m.
  • The increase in imports was driven by a rise in imports of consumption goods, up $812m (13%); intermediate and other goods, up $711m (8%); and capital goods, up $219m (4%).
  • Imports of non-monetary gold declined to partially offset the increases, down $451m (-36%) on May 2020.
  • Within consumption goods, articles of apparel and clothing accessories led the increase, with miscellaneous manufactured articles and furniture also increasing. Offsetting this increase was a decline in imports of road vehicles.
  • Within intermediate and other goods, there were increases across a range of goods, most notably imports of petroleum products particularly gasoline and diesel, and electrical machinery including solar panels.
  • Within capital goods there were increases in imports of vehicles for the transport of goods, while imports of office and ADP machinery have declined after strong values in April and May, offsetting some of the increase.
  • Year-on-year, imports in June 2020 declined by $443m (-2%) on June 2019. This decline is predominantly due to declines of more than 40% in both imports of petroleum and road vehicles.
     
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Preliminary imports by country (original, current price)

  • Australia’s imports of goods are dominated by China, covering a broad range of commodities, but most notably, laptops, mobile phones, electrical machinery, miscellaneous manufactured articles, and articles of apparel.
  • After China, the USA, Japan, Thailand and Germany provide most of Australia’s imported goods. Collectively these countries (including China) made up around 55% of all imports in the year ending June 2020.
  • The impacts of COVID-19 on imports from China was particularly visible in the February and March 2020 months, with relatively low levels of imports across a range of commodities. From the April 2020 month onwards, most commodities imported from China have returned to similar levels to those observed prior to February.
  • In the June 2020 month, imports from China increased by 3% on the revised May value to $7,475m, driven by increases in articles of apparel including personal protective equipment; and electrical machinery driven partially by an increase in imports of solar panels. These increases were partially offset by a decrease in office and ADP machinery, down $317m (-31%) to $718m.
  • From June 2019 to June 2020, imports from China have increased by 29%. There were increases observed in: textile yarn and fabrics, including personal protective equipment (PPE); electrical machinery and appliances; and telecommunications equipment.
  • Road vehicles are typically the top import for Australia from Japan and Thailand. Imports of road vehicles from Japan declined sharply in May 2020 and have remained relatively low in June 2020. In contrast, imports of road vehicles from Thailand declined sharply in May 2020 but rebounded in June back to the levels observed prior to May.
     
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Data notes

These are preliminary estimates presented on an original, current price (merchandise (goods) trade) basis only, not a Balance of Payments (BoP) basis. This means that the data are presented on a customs basis, whereas BoP data are derived from the customs basis by applying adjustments for factors such as valuation, coverage, timing and residence, as required by the Australian System of National Accounts.

Caution should be exercised in interpreting preliminary estimates as they June be different to the final published estimates because:

  • Estimates are based on preliminary data provided by businesses and individuals, and are subject to revision as more complete and accurate information becomes available. Therefore, accuracy of these estimates June be poorer than for final estimates.
  • This data does not include adjustments that are supplementary to transaction information provided by the Department of Home Affairs for example, adjustments to account for low value imported items and other above-mentioned BoP adjustments.
     

The timeline below provides key processing timeframes and publication dates for the June 2020 international trade in goods data.

Timeline June 2020

Image: Timeline June 2020

Timeline June 2020

This timeline provides key processing timeframes and publication dates for the June 2020 international trade in goods data. The June 2020 data collection commenced at the start of June and was completed at the end of June. During mid-July, the merchandise (goods) trade statistics were compiled for June 2020.

In the third week of July (24 July 2020), preliminary international merchandise (goods) trade data was published (cat. no. 5368.0.55.024). Late July saw the balance of payments adjustments applied to the June data. 2 weeks after the preliminary international merchandise (goods) trade data were published, the June 2020 final international merchandise (goods) trade statistics published (cat. no. 5368.0) and detailed subscription data became available (4 August 2020).

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Data downloads

Table 1. Preliminary merchandise exports, standard international trade classification (1 and 2 digit), FOB value

Table 2. Preliminary merchandise imports, standard international trade classification (1 and 2 digit), customs value